On 14 November 2023, Karanovic & Partners hosted the 18th annual Compliance & Business Regulation Conference at Hyatt Regency Hotel, Belgrade. During this event, we unveiled the 17th edition of our publication, Focus on Competition.
Our Managing Partner Darko Jovanović delivered a welcoming speech, reflecting on the conference’s beginnings:
“In 2006, we started our conference as a dedicated forum for competition law, which has since evolved into a traditional annual event. In 2019, we introduced the topic of data protection for the first time and expanded our discussions to include trending subjects such as competition law in M&A, employment law, and remote work in 2022. This year, we have further broadened the scope of topics, organizing them into three panels, each addressing crucial business matters.”
A captivating and engaging keynote speech was delivered by H.E. Mr. Rafał Paweł Perl, Ambassador of the Republic of Poland to the Republic of Serbia. He focused on the recent history of the Republic of Poland, highlighting its political and economic transition in the early 1990s. Ambassador Perl emphasized the expansion of the entrepreneurial spirit, overall economic development, and creativity of the Polish people as significant advantages during the country’s accession to the EU. Given the presence of numerous Polish brands and companies in the Serbian market, he expressed hope that the Polish experience would serve as an inspiration for the Serbian economy, as both countries share similar cultural, geographical, and economic characteristics.
Tax Incentives & Tax Litigation
Our Senior Associate Katarina Tomić moderated the first panel dedicated to the discussion on tax incentives and tax litigation.
The panellists were Nikola Mitić, General Manager at Playstudios Europe, Igor Babović, Engineering Lead at Logic + Rhythm, our colleague, Igor Angelovski, Partner at Ketler & Partners, member of Karanovic, and our Senior Associate Andrej Jelenković.
The discussion on Serbian tax incentives, particularly corporate income tax and personal income tax, emphasized their popularity. Special attention was given to tax incentives related to share plans. IT industry panellists highlighted the novelty of share incentive plans for Serbian employees, revealing their eagerness to learn about them. Despite the complexities of tax controls and policy work in Serbia, positive trends within the Ministry of Finances signal practical improvements in the second instance procedure. Slovenia’s tax system, akin to Serbia’s, features criminal proceedings against tax evasion, and insights into tax dispute resolution mechanisms in EU countries were shared.
While no country boasts universal satisfaction with tax conditions, laws, and procedures, increased involvement of employers and employees fosters entrepreneurial spirit and enriches the overall business landscape.
Digital Age Dynamics: Addressing Cybersecurity and Trade Secrets
The second panel, moderated by our Senior Associate Nikola Kliska, featured speakers Sara Vilotijević, Head of Legal at United Cloud, Katarina Garić, CyberSecurity Engineer at Oktacron, along with our colleague Kevin Rihtar, Senior Associate at Ketler & Partners, a member of Karanovic, and our Partner Ivan Nonković.
This panel delved into the theme prompted by the report “Trade Secrets Litigation Trends in the EU” (June 2023), ” conducted by the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO). The discussion revolved around the report’s analysis of business secrets being compromised in both analog and digital realms and the query about legal protection in the absence of necessary preventive measures.
The speakers demonstrated that business security in the digital realm is a shared concern for both legal professionals and engineers, both of whom advocate for a secure digital future. Key aspects discussed included the significance of comprehending all facets of cybersecurity (with a special emphasis on social engineering), data protection, the definition of trade secrets, and AI, in both EU and local Serbian contexts.
Views from Regulators’ Perspective – Recent Enforcement Practices in Competition and State Aid Law, Antipiracy and Trade Law, Organized Crime, and Cybersecurity
Our Partner Bojan Vučković presided over the panel that included state officials, discussing the trending topics of competition, state aid, antipiracy, organised crime, and cybersecurity, from the regulators’ point of view. The speakers were Nebojša Jovović, Director of the Agency for Protection of Competition of Montenegro, Vladimir Antonijević, President of the Commission for State Aid Control of Serbia, and Milan Mićić, Public Prosecutor of the Basic Public Prosecutor’s Office in Novi Sad.
The discussion explored the legal landscape of competition and state aid in Montenegro and Serbia. One segment of the panel focused on the Law on Protection of Competition in Montenegro, its amendments, and its emphasis on state aid control, alongside the State Aid Law in Serbia. Effective efforts by the competition and state aid control authorities in both countries hinge on enhancing enforcement policies, educating regulators in the domains of competition and state aid, and developing regulatory frameworks.
The second part of the panel addressed the crimes in the realm of new technologies, the complexities of digital forensics in legal proceedings, practice examples of cybercrimes, cybersecurity recommendations, and the uniform rulebooks of relevant international institutions.
As the regional business landscape continues its dynamic evolution, our conference adapts accordingly. Anticipating the next emerging trend, we aspire to delve into the realm of AI and its implications for business. Meanwhile, we trust that our current discussions have comprehensively addressed the most pressing topics of the moment, thanks to valuable insights shared by relevant experts across various industries.
Partner and Senior Associate refer to Independent Attorney at Law in cooperation with Karanovic & Partners.
The information in this document does not constitute legal advice on any particular matter and is provided for general informational purposes only.